Did you know that for every cup of coffee consumed, a square inch of rainforest was damaged while producing it? Production of coffee leads to deforestation; including chemical buildup in soils, loss of forest shade, and water pollution. Drinking sustainable coffee is the best way to enjoy a cup o’ joe that leaves a small carbon footprint on the environment.
Coffee is the second-highest traded commodity, after oil – a $10 billion industry. Statistics say that 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world each year. Americans alone drink 146 billion cups of coffee per year.
How is Coffee Produced?
Coffee goes through several processes during production. The process starts with “green coffee beans” from a previous batch that are planted for the next crop. It takes an average of 5 years for the coffee plant to produce “berries” after required care and attention to the soil. The berries are either harvested by machine or picked by hand.
After harvesting, they are processed into beans through either dry processing or wet processing methods. Beans are sorted by good and bad beans – the bad beans are thrown out. The good beans, now called “green coffee beans” are bagged and shipped out to be roasted.
Roasting is the final step of coffee production and requires specific timing and temperatures to produce the perfect product. As they roast, their coating is released.
Sun-Grown and Shade-Grown Coffee Plants
There are two types of coffee plants: sun-grown coffee or shade grown coffee. Sun-grown coffee plants produce almost 3x the amount of coffee compared to shade grown coffee plants. However, this is not a good thing. Sun-grown coffee has resulted in a massive decrease of the earth’s rainforest coverage. Today, the earth comprises about 6% rainforest coverage (compared to 15% in the 1950s).
What is Sustainable Coffee?
Sustainable coffee is shade-grown coffee produced on farms that are certified organic. Also known as Bird Friendly coffee, these farms provide habitats for migratory and resident birds. You will be certain that a coffee brand is sustainable if it is marked with a Smithsonian Bird Friendly seal.
These shade-grown coffee farms not only provide a natural habitat for birds, they also protect the soil from erosion and serve as pest control. Shade-controlled coffee farms may also be less vulnerable to climate change, including temperature fluctuations and rainfall.
Sustainable Coffee Practices
We now know the impact of shade-grown coffee farms. But what about coffee production? Sustainable coffee is produced by using these practices: crop-management, decreased water use, composting coffee bean waste for fertilizer use, reforestation, and using pheromone boxes to ward away insects that create pesticides.
Sustainability is important to us at Blue Moon Rising. Every effort you make to reduce our environment’s carbon footprint makes a difference, including purchasing sustainable coffee. If you are interested in other ways to be eco-friendly, read our blog post titled Sustainable Gift Ideas for Travelers or 7 Ways to Recycle, Reuse, and Repurpose.